Engraving: Choosing your font

Your font selection can convey a lot of information. A classic look can be altered dramatically to something silly or sentimental depending on the chosen font and object it’s being applied to. Whether you’re engraving a towering trophy or the inside of a ring, there are three things to keep in mind when selecting a font for your next engraving project.

1. What are you engraving?

If the engraving surface is personal and only going to be seen by a handful of individuals, like the inside of watch or a monogram on a putter, you may want to be bold and experiment with complex, hard-to-read fonts. However, if the object is public facing, you should steer clear of swirling and varying stoke-width fonts. Given that fonts aren’t written in a contrasting color, the lines used in engraving must meet a minimal thickness and depth in order to be visible. This is why most engraved fonts are bold with hard lines and extremely consistent in their stroke width.

2. How will the font be applied to the object?

High-level types of engraving include: mechanical, photochemical, electro-chemical, and manual. Knowing how the object will be engraved is a prerequisite for choosing your font. The physical limitations of engraving fonts are usually very obvious to skilled engravers. When discussing the project at hand, your engraver can recommend font families to choose from depending on the application process. Try to remain flexible since selecting a final engraving font may not always be the font that you prefer.  Final fonts usually wind up being a give and take process between the limits of engraving and your personal preference.

3. What is the general aesthetic goal of the piece?

Is this a gift that you want to be personal? If so, then legibility may take a backseat to sentimental decoration. Using scripted fonts or possibly your own handwriting can take a gift to the next level. Monograms usually steer down this route since initials rarely need to be legible and are more for ornamental purposes. However, if you’re presenting a professional achievement, having an unreadable handwritten font or a sweeping typeface doesn’t make much sense. Again, explain these goals to your engraver and work with them to reach a font that both fits your goals for the award and is possible to engrave.

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